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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian


    <ining service at Carleton, students are faced with a host of new food choices and decisions about what to eat. Here are four of our favorite nutritional tidbits, to make healthy food selection easier.

    1) Water:

    Water is crucial to just about every process in the body that keeps us alive. It ensures effective waste removal, maintains adequate blood volume for peak performance and well-being, and is absolutely necessary for the breakdown of energetic molecules. The enzymes that break down fats and carbs for energy operate via hydrolysis- to convert, or ‘release’, energy from a carb or a fat molecule, a water molecule must be expended. This means that water is not just lost through perspiration of the skin, or respiration through the mouth or nose, it is also lost through metabolic processes. This means, water is lost in every living cell in the body. So drink up!

    2) Variety:

    How can you eat healthy and still enjoy what you’re eating? Variety is the key. Besides differences in caloric density (calories per gram of food), foods differ in the nutrients they offer. A salad might contribute a lot of the antioxidant vitamins (A, C, E), but might fall short on iron or vitamin D. Eating what overzealous dieters can construe as “guilty pleasures” (meat, a hearty soup, or even a slice of pizza) can actually help round out the nutrient intake and satisfy taste buds. Variety and moderation go together and complement each other.

    3) Meal Size and Frequency:

    When food is consumed, the digestive system will extract and partition nutrients at the fastest possible rate, while making sure that every absorbable calorie is extracted. Eating an oversized meal, causes excess energy will be stored as fat because fat is the body’s preferred method of long-term energy storage.

    “Working it off” works only so well. Even if you fend off the post-pig-out food coma, productivity on the treadmill will be hampered by blood rushing to the stomach and away from skeletal muscles.

    On the other extreme is eating many little meals throughout the day. This means the system is never overwhelmed with trying to process too much nutrients. Further, fat deposition would be minimal.

    Factoring in the busy Carleton lifestyle, a realistic solution like small portions at meals and lots of snacks throughout the day should be considered.

    4) Glycemics:

    Any given food can be assigned a glycemic index (G.I.), which is a number that indicates how great an impact the food has on blood sugar levels. Foods that digest quickly and can therefore release all of their nutrients in a short amount of time have high G.I., while foods that take a long time to digest have a low G.I.

    To avoid the unfavorable nutrient partitioning that leads to fat deposition eating low-G.I. foods is recommended. High-G.I. foods can also lead to the “sugar rush”, which is always followed by a “sugar crash.”

    Over the course of a meal (and day), consuming some high-G.I. food can be balanced with low-G.I. food.

    As a rule of thumb, calorie-dense, sugary, or starchy foods have the highest G.I.s, while lean, fibrous, and unprocessed foods have a healthier G.I.

    For a wealth of nutritional information, including estimated G.I.s of thousands of food items, check out, or contact SWA Julian Tokarev.

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